FBI Unveils Anti-Terrorist Edutainment Program For Schools

from the FBI:-'You-cut-the-strings.-We'll-reattach-them-later!' dept

The FBI wants to deputize the nation's schools into its anti-terrorism posse. At this point, it's unclear whether the program will escalate to the elaborate Rube Goldberg machinations the FBI currently employs to generate terrorism suspects (putting the "rube" back in "Rube Goldberg machinations"), but for now, it appears to be "edutainment" that applies a ridiculous metaphor with blunt force precision.

The program, according to those who saw it at F.B.I. headquarters, called “Don’t Be a Puppet,” leads the viewer through a series of games and tips intended to teach how to identify someone who may be falling prey to radical extremists. With each successful answer, scissors cut a puppet’s string, until the puppet is free.
RIP, Global Terrorism. The FBI is dismantling the forces of evil with the power of multiple choice quizzes. And it's doing so without listening to the concerns of the inadvertent stakeholders.
The F.B.I. had told the community organizations that the program would be available online as soon as Monday. The organizations’ leaders spoke to a reporter only after learning that the F.B.I. was likely to proceed despite their concern that the program would stigmatize Arab and Muslim students, who are already susceptible to bullying.

“Teachers in classrooms should not become an extension of law enforcement,” said Arjun S. Sethi, an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Sethi, who specializes in counterterrorism and law enforcement, was invited by the F.B.I. to give feedback on the program.

“The program is based on flawed theories of radicalization, namely that individuals radicalize in the exact same way and it’s entirely discernible,” he said. “But it’s not, and the F.B.I. is basically asking teachers and students to suss these things out.”
BUT, BUT... INTERACTIVE LEARNING! Games and tips and string-cutting! How could this not be a good idea?

Maybe because it would simply encourage the sort of racial/religious profiling the DOJ heads off at local law enforcement agencies with consent decrees and many FBI agents themselves find mostly useless?
[Hoda Hawa, policy director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council] and others interviewed were particularly troubled by a question that she said asked the user to identify which of four or five posts on social media should raise alarm. Among the choices were a person posting about a plan to attend a political event, or someone with an Arabic name posting about going on “a mission” overseas. The correct answer was the posting with the Arabic name.
The "blowback" from groups the FBI consulted with pre-release did little to deter its plans to co-opt educational institutions into its puppet-making plans. It wasn't until the New York Times reported on the program's release that the FBI finally experienced developer's remorse. As Homeland Security News Wire reports, the FBI has now decided to hold off on the release of the controversial program.
Facing criticism, the FBI has decided to delay the release of “Don’t Be a Puppet,” an interactive program aiming to help teachers and students identify young people who show signs of flirting with radicalism and violent extremism.

The program was scheduled for release Monday.
The FBI doesn't appear to be nearly as concerned about the potential damage it might be doing to several million American citizens of foreign descent as it is about being perceived negatively by major media players. I guess that's something, but the run-up to the (now delayed) release suggests the only reason the agency "accepts" feedback from affected groups is to check that box off the project management checklist.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: anti-terrorism, edutainment, fbi, propaganda


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 1:28pm

    dimantling?

    Typo.. s/dimantling/dismantling.
    Please delete this comment after correcting... should that be the eventual goal.

    Also... seriously the FBI should be reminded of its mission, and it's not terrorism creation and bustage.

    E

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 3:24pm

      Re: dimantling?

      If that is your real name and you are jewish. You're a good guy, I know you guys exist but not enough of you are vocal against America trying to become Israel 2.0 with regard to anyone with an arabic name. I wonder what they do with Malaysians and Indonesians who have names that do not sound very much like muslim ones, they get a free pass for being not enough "black and white", no time to waste on difficult to determine people, just pick on the obvious ones.

      I'm sad that the kid from Texas(was it Texas?) who made an alarm clock and brought it to school (it was his science project or something) is leaving the country to Qatar, his parents wouldn't tolerate this kind of thing any longer.

      It's become more dangerous to be muslim than a mexican in the US i'm afraid.

      As for myself, I know a Syrian guy, well, he was 2 year old when his parents moved to Canada, he's a christian Syrian too, and he's on Assad's side, the orthodox catholic churches of eastern europe/Russia/Greece/Macedonia told Obama that these people were committing genocide against christian syrians. He's really sad of all that's happened over there, although he is 100% canadian and has zero accent. Thankfully his name isn't an issue here, it could have become an issue had the Harper stayed. He's an atheist. What will they do with all the secular people with arabic names?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 10:14pm

      Re: dimantling?

      That's the only way to justify foreign wars against people with resources our leaders want. How else can they justify such military aggression if they don't create fake terrorism plots to blame them on.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 2:14pm

    It's programs like this which make me laugh whenever bigots accuse the president of being a 'SEKRIT MOOSLIM TRRIST.' The amount of spying/gov harrassment experienced by Americans of Arab/South Asian ancestry is now far worse under Obama than anything before.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 2:22pm

    All right, if no one else will step forward to be the dickwad, I guess I have to...

    "...scissors cut a puppet’s string, until the puppet is free."

    Strings would mean marionette, not puppet. But "Don't Be a Marionette" somehow loses that insightful propaganda cachet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sorrykb (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 2:42pm

      Re:

      Quite right, quite right.

      "Puppets" would more correctly refer to those ensnared in the FBI's own terrorist plot creations. Or, at least, the mental imagery seems more apt...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 3:19pm

      Re:

      It was a typo. What the FBI meant was to cut off the hand that is currently shoved up your butt that is controlling you. The FBI knows all about that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 3:16pm

    Planned Failure-hood

    Isn’t the real question: ‘Who has their hand up the FBI’s butt (or are jerking their strings around) to get them to even consider producing such nonsense’?

    This is going to hurt a lot of people, tie up a lot of courts, and absolutely NOT achieve their stated purpose. Can they be sued for this? Should the ACLU and EFF etc. start collecting plaintiff names?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 3:23pm

    I guess no one at the FBI thought out the consequences of creating this program. People that are against the US would take the program and use it as propaganda to others saying, see how they brainwash their children or some such thing.

    Honestly it's like the FBI is trying to create more terrorists for the sole purpose of justifying the increased budget they have.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Robert, 3 Nov 2015 @ 3:33pm

    Mental Health

    Reality is terrorist just like the corporation of Scientology do not target regular folks be they adults or minors. They specifically target mentally challenge individuals, those suffering mental illness, vulnerable people easy to manipulate.
    Want to break the cycle, introduce proper fully funded mental health services and get to those individuals first and help them before the terrorists help themselves to them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 3:46pm

      Re: Mental Health

      Reality is terrorist just like the corporation of Scientology do not target regular folks be they adults or minors. They specifically target mentally challenge individuals, those suffering mental illness, vulnerable people easy to manipulate.

      Strangely this seems to be exactly what the FBI do too - when they fabricate their plots!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 8:28pm

      Re: Mental Health

      Reality is terrorist just like the corporation of Scientology do not target regular folks be they adults or minors. They specifically target mentally challenge individuals, those suffering mental illness, vulnerable people easy to manipulate.

      No need to single out Scientology. All religions do this. It's their business model.

      BTW, Imperial Rome despised Christians for their atheism, because Christians denied the existence of traditional Roman (and other) deities. Cf. Harry Sidebottom's "Warrior of Rome" series.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Richard (profile), 4 Nov 2015 @ 4:48am

        Re: Re: Mental Health

        No need to single out Scientology. All religions do this. It's their business model.

        WRONG - the real business model for Christianity has been the exact opposite. Single out the most powerful people in the land and convert them - the rest will follow. If the Emperor Constantine had not been converted there would be little or no Christianity in the world today. Look at the history of any European Christian country and you will see the same pattern.

        The US is an aberration because your founding fathers decided not to have an official denomination (although at the time Christianity was nearly universal amongst the settlers). Consequently in the US religions often use the business model of a cult - which is what you deacribe. However the US is different from pretty much everywhere else in the world in that respect.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Monkyyy, 3 Nov 2015 @ 3:43pm

    Dare.... but this time it will work

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Justme, 3 Nov 2015 @ 5:29pm

    I have to ask..

    Among the choices were a person posting about a plan to attend a political event, or someone with an Arabic name posting about going on “a mission” overseas. The correct answer was the posting with the Arabic name.

    I wonder if the answer is the same if the name is Smith or Jones, because there's a lot of mormon's going on mission's overseas. Radicals, who would have guessed. . .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 3 Nov 2015 @ 7:55pm

      Re: I have to ask..

      I live in a dense Mormon area, and you hear things like that all the time - young folk talking about how they look forward to going abroad to do "God's Work"... sounds just like what they want us to report.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Zonker, 4 Nov 2015 @ 3:05pm

      Re: I have to ask..

      I was just about to comment along the same lines as you. My immediate thought was that, according to the FBI, I was supposed to report all of my Mormon acquaintances as possible radical extremists.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 5:37pm

    Said before, but this point is so dumbfounding it bears repeating: out of all the possible names and slogans for a government propaganda program that targets captive audiences full of children, they use the word 'puppet'?

    That kind of irony is way too pure. They need to cut it with some tired rhetoric or droning banality before putting it out on the open market

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2015 @ 4:45am

      Re:

      They do that on purpose.........alot of these words/descriptions are used against them where they make sense because of context

      They just use the words randomly, in hopes that those still under their thrawl will passively absorb their version of the meaning

      We live in a society where the left hand does'nt know what the right hand is doing, and yet, they all have the same goal.......the upper echelon dosnt have A puppet......its got MANY puppets.........and the left dont know what the right is doing........i suspect that their are many pupeteers too........these pupeteers, the ones that cause the conflicts amongst us when they lock horns with one another, bringing us all down with them in their conflict.........

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 3 Nov 2015 @ 6:12pm

    FBI: Don't be a puppet. Be our puppet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 9:11pm

    I don't understand this game. I checked the "Pinocchio's a terrorist" box? Did I win?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2015 @ 10:12pm

    Don't be a puppet by being a sycophant instead

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Valis (profile), 4 Nov 2015 @ 3:09am

    The United States of North Korea

    If only you people could see yourselves as the rest of the world sees you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2015 @ 4:46am

      Re: The United States of North Korea

      Someday they will and there will either be civil war or revolution in their country again.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2015 @ 4:04am

    Nazi's

    Opposition.........thats all its about, no distinction between justified opposition and violent opposition, their more afraid of the JUSTIFIED opposition, afraid that people will start to think more objectively about the reasons for their actions, not just accept their word as gospel.......educating people not to question them, because naturally everything they do is both right and justified

    Teaching a nation their place

    Collection of power, is a corruption....unless we understand that..........a collection of power when a JUSTIFIED need arises can be beneficial in circumstances i wont deny, but shouldnt be seen as goal for perpetual power.......were regressing back to monarchs.....one person, ALL the power, forever the human race survives

    Playing by the rules set by those in power ensures they'll always be in power


    Did i make the list?...........why?

    Justification in 3,2,1


    The only thing i plan to do, is speak my mind

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2015 @ 4:11am

    "The organizations’ leaders spoke to a reporter only after learning that the F.B.I. was likely to proceed despite their concern that the program would stigmatize Arab and Muslim students, who are already susceptible to bullying."

    Government Response:
    "Consequences, Shmonsequences.
    PAH!
    Pish Posh.
    Rabble Rabble"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 4 Nov 2015 @ 4:11am

    Because of the secret `Egregious Policy Exchange Treaty' between the USA and the UK, the FBI is required to implement the British `schoolteachers have to spy on students act.' It's mandatory.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2015 @ 4:31am

      Re:

      Using law to literally, turn ourselves against eachother

      Suspect ourselves, to be weary of ourselves, to focus on ourselves......instead of THEMselves

      Never question, never think how these actions affect the public mindset

      Not allowed to think for ourselves.......they dont want the competition

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2015 @ 4:26am

    Conditioning people how to behave, lest they be targetted, irregardles of guilt.........lawfull guilt.......not "legal" guilt

    That is not a fucking free society ffs, where those with more power=more rights, dictate how those they enforce their stolen power upon, how they should behave EXACTLY

    Their are a million ways to be good, but your only allowed to be THIS particular good

    If your not THIS good, then your bad, even if your still good

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    me@me.net, 4 Nov 2015 @ 4:36am

    We shouldnt have cops in schools in school

    WE certainly dont need the FBI Manufacturing terror-suspects in schools.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2015 @ 4:46am

    "Don’t Be a Puppet" says the puppeteer

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2015 @ 9:11am

    Are there fan mods available for this game?

    I'd like to try the mod that has the US Government as one of the radical extremists!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2015 @ 9:18am

    FBI doesn't contract people that are "pirates". MPAA schools the kids against "piracy". FBI schools the kids against "terrorism". Coincidence?

    "Don’t Be a Puppet"? Tell that to Obama.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 4 Nov 2015 @ 10:17am

    Someone needs to make a similar video for the FBI, about not being a puppet of your underlying racist thoughts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GEMont, 4 Nov 2015 @ 11:34am

    Fascism: How To 101

    The War On Radicalization.

    The problem does not exist.... Yet.

    But, as the USG becomes more openly fascist and the public becomes more aware of its oppressor's intent, dissent will be inevitable, and so "dissent" must be re-labeled and become "radicalization" in the general public mind.

    Once legislation is in place, the problem can be advertised on TV and in movies to become a real "thing" in the public mind, and within a year or so, laws can be made to "fight the problem", with the public's consent and approval.

    The Five Eyes never sleeps.

    War on Suckers.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bollocks, 4 Nov 2015 @ 12:36pm

    Thunderbirds are go

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 4 Nov 2015 @ 1:07pm

    I...um...er...snort...it's...snigger...absolutely...bwahahaha!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat

Warning: include(/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/..') in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8
Recent Stories
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.